The Carpenters were a vocal and instrumental duo, consisting of siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter. Though often referred to by the public as “The Carpenters”, the duo’s official name on authorized recordings and press materials is simply “Carpenters”. During a period in the 1970s when louder and wilder rock was in great demand, Richard and Karen produced a distinctively soft musical style that made them one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
Occasionally, the Carpenters return home early enough from the recording studio or concert dates to catch Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. One evening as Richard was watching the show, a female singer with a Mae West strut was going to perform a love song of today about a groupie. It was Bette Midler singing Superstar. Again, Richard heard the song as a totally different musical conception in his mind and was excited by its potential.
Accounts of the origin of “Groupie (Superstar)” vary somewhat, but the song grew out of the late 1969/early 1970 nexus of English and American musicians known as Delaney, Bonnie, & Friends that involved Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Rita Coolidge, and various others. The song’s working title during portions of its development was “Groupie Song”.
In its first recorded incarnation, the song was called “Groupie (Superstar)”, and was recorded and released as the B-Side to the Delaney & Bonnie single “Comin’ Home” in December 1969. Released by Atlantic Records,, the full credit on the single was to Delaney & Bonnie and Friends Featuring Eric Clapton.
Long ago, and, oh, so far away
I fell in love with you before the second show.
Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear, but you’re not really here.
It’s just the radio.
Don’t you remember you told me you loved me baby?
You said you’d be coming back this way again baby.
Baby, baby, baby, baby, oh, baby.
I love you, I really do.
Loneliness is such a sad affair, and I can hardly wait to be with you again.
What to say, to make you come again?
Come back to me again, and play your sad guitar.